Durango Native Wins XTERRA
By Renee Lucero The Daily Times
FARMINGTON — Define insanity. Is it diving head first into a chilly lake in the earliest hours of the morning? Is it running through desert canyons in summer heat? Or is it racing a bike up and down sandy hills for nearly 20 miles?
The answer is no but put all three together and you have the XTERRA Four Corners triathlon. The race spread from Farmington Lake to Flora Vista to Lions Wilderness Park on Saturday and left few disappointed.
"I'm delighted with how the race went today. Everybody got out of the water safe and we only had minor accidents, nothing serious so it's all good. It's what we expected and we couldn't have done it without the city of Farmington and all of the volunteers we had out here today," race director Shawn Lyle said.
After a 1,500 meter swim, a six-mile run and a 19.5-mile bike ride, 27-year-old Durango, Colo., native Ben Hoffman clocked the overall best time of 2:15:06. Saturday was Hoffman's first attempt at the XTERRA Four Corners race after traveling across the country for other triathlons.
"It's nice to just get in my car and drive to a race as opposed to the epic trips I usually have to take. Plus, these trails are legendary and the event is super well organized. I'm hoping it fits in my schedule again next year and I can come back," Hoffman said at the XTERRA awards ceremony.
After a week of grueling training for other professional triathlons, Hoffman was looking forward to a relaxing race Saturday but found that the competition bug bit him in the starting gate.
"Today I was just trying to finish up a hard week of training but everytime I toe the line, I'm always thinking about winning," Hoffman said.
Finishing just behind Hoffman were Will Kelsay, a 27-year-old from Boulder, Colo., who finished in 2:19:59, only one second before third place finisher, Jay Lake. Lake, a 30-year-old from Littleton, Colo., finished in 2:20:00 after a mad bicycle dash to the finish line. Kelsay, always the bridesmaid and never the bride, has finished in second place all three years the XTERRA Four Corners has been in existence.
Lying out of breath and exhausted on the hot pavement just beyond the finish line, Kelsay was in no mood to pout about his third straight runner-up showing.
"That was pretty much the coolest finish ever," Kelsay said.
Denver native Luisa Bryce, 28, completed the course in 2:48:19 to earn top honors amongst the ladies but the surprise of the race came from Farmington teenager Cady Simpson.
Simpson was one of three teenagers, and the only female teenager, to race Saturday and finished her first ever triathlon in 3:11:45. More than 180 racers participated in the XTERRA Four Corners this year and the field was full of professionals, long-time veterans and course experts but none of this daunted the humble red-head.
"I wasn't really scared or intimidated because I know I put in the same time as everyone else. I train just as much and just as hard as everyone in the race," Simpson said.
The high school student was introduced to triathlons through her swim coach Brandyn Roark-Gray after running track, racing BMX bikes and swimming for most of her life.
"Tri just seemed like a good fit for me. I get bored with only one sport so it's fun to switch from swim to run to bike," Simpson said.
Before Saturday, Simpson and her coach trained physically and mentally for the three-hour test of speed, strength and endurance. Part of Simpsons mental training was setting a goal for herself and accomplishing it. For the XTERRA Four Corners, Simson's goal was to finish in three hours and ten minutes. She finished the race within two minutes of her goal Saturday.
"I set a goal and for my first triathlon, I think I did really well. I'm looking forward to doing more. I'm hoping I can qualify for nationals this year," Simpson said.
It wasn't all good news for Simpon after the race.
"Swimmers are not runners," Simpson said with a chuckle referring to the run, her least favorite leg of the race. "I'm probably going to be really sore tomorrow."
For a complete list of the finishing times, visit xterrafourcorners.farmingtonnm.org.
Renee Lucero: firstname.lastname@example.org
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